I like Planning

January 15, 2011 at 3:52 PM 4 comments

I like planning.

That might seem a strange admission for a self-confessed disorganised person.

Nonetheless it is something I can find enjoyment in.

I think I’ve always enjoyed the planning of what to take on a trip, when it’s far enough ahead. Then planning can trigger anticipation and also control any apprehension by giving the impression of control.

I even used to enjoy making lists of what characters could take on adventures when making up stories as a child.

Sometimes the planning can be more fun than the actual trip.

Planning is very important for a majorly massive task like a thesis. That’s about 90,000 words. Serious proper academic words like liminality and performative. Those are such academic words that Word doesn’t know them.

But then it doesn’t know blog either. Strangely, it does know skiving. 😀

One thing I like about thesis planning is that it helps wrestle this monster under something resembling control. Breaking it down into small tasks.

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and a thesis of 90k starts with a single word. Usually a nice simple one like ‘the’ or ‘a’.

Like that thing about how to eat a whale, or an elephant. A bite at a time.

No question of the ethical implications of one person greedily consuming an entire large endangered mammal. To mention that would be to miss the point. 😉

As would questioning the purpose of eating such a beast at all, or what vegetables should be eaten with it. Even whether one should eat vegetables as well, or just focus on getting the thing down your gullet.

But all that meat and no vegetables would be quite unbalanced and bad for you.

My Dad would certainly disapprove. He never let me eat meat without something with it.

To stretch an analogy to the point of bursting, maybe other writing, like this blog, or the occasional poem or bit of fiction could be metaphorical vegetables.

But I digress. I like to digress too, but back to planning.

Planning is vital for a thesis. It is unavoidable as well. Part of the upgrade report I am working on at the moment is a detailed outline.

There is more to thesis planning than just outlining though.

I just read a chapter in a thesis guidebook on planning. I picked it up for inspiration and flicked through the chapter headings. When I saw the one on planning I though ‘ah yes, that’ll do nicely’.

Then I started thinking about it and I realised that another reason I like planning is that it can so easily become a distraction from actually getting on with the dreaded work itself.

It’s a fine line to tread. It is inefficient to try and work without planning. Fail to plan and plan to fail and all that.

But if you’re not careful planning can take up more of your time than it should and is so good at masquerading as real work that it can fool you into thinking you are working very hard, when actually your productivity of real output has dropped.

I do think it is more useful to spend half an hour writing about what subject I could tackle next and working through the pros and cons of each than wasting that half an hour playing minesweeper.

But it would be more useful still to spend it actually writing about runic inscriptions!

The problem is even worse when the task is tidying up… but that’s another post, for another day 🙂

What about you? Do you overplan or underplan? Or have you got it about right?


Entry filed under: disorganisation. Tags: , , , , , , , , .

The Wild Plughole Finding God

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. corisel  |  January 16, 2011 at 6:19 AM

    Planning is definitely one of my hobbies – and a form of procrastination as well. But I like breaking tasks down into small steps, creating lists and time frames. I get a sense of achievement when I can tick things off. and it does make tasks less overwhelming. It also helps me to focus when I have a plan.

    I think I have the planning part pretty well sorted. With me the follow through is the problem. No matter how efficiently and cleverly I plan, sometimes I just don’t want to do the work. Like now, which is why I’m visiting your blog instead of getting on with the to do list I made this morning! 🙂

    • 2. knotrune  |  January 16, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      Absolutely! It depends on what the tasks are, but often if I can’t face them I will go back and refine the plan some more 🙂 Or go and procrastinate! It sometimes helps to put a fun thing on the list, to do after a certain amount of the boring or difficult ones, or after the single worst one. I also find it helps to double check I really need to do the things on the list. Mark with a star anything that has to be done that day or that week and make sure that gets done, then anything else is a bonus rather than a drag.

  • 3. ddvmor  |  January 16, 2011 at 3:34 PM

    I like the idea of planning. Sometimes I try to plan. I like it when a plan exists. Sadly I am the worlds 4th worst planner.

    • 4. knotrune  |  January 16, 2011 at 3:49 PM

      That’s very specific. Who are the other 3? Was there a competition?


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